BWW Reviews: Eagle Theatre's SMOKEY JOE's CAFE Shakes, Rattles and Rolls
Eagle's Artistic Director Ed Corsi has done it again; creating another crowd-wowing Revue with Smokey Joe's Café. The songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller has a gift of transporting its audience to its youth as nine enormously lively and talented young people sing and dance their way into your heart.
"Smokey Joe's Cafe," includes 35 memorable samples from the Leiber and Stoller catalog: "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "Saved," "Spanish Harlem," "Love Potion #9," "Yakety Yak" and "I'm A Woman" among them. Opening on Broadway in 1995 playing over 2,000 performances with 6 Tony nominations; it's not hard to see why this was one of the show- stopping shows of its day. For many in the audience it is a trip back in time and for the younger, well they can only wish they grew up in an era of the neighborhood BFF's and still remembering all the fun.
Eagle's talented cast, some returning, some who definitely will return based on this performance are Rajeer Alford, Franklin Anthony, who makes his debut as choreographer as well as dances his feet off, Marissa Barnathan, Jenna Bitow, Michael Hogan, Jessica Johnson, AJ Mendini, Rachel Pinkstone-Marx and Will Scantling. All not only share the stage with equal enthusiasm but offer standout solos. Jessica Johnson's "Don Juan" and "Some Cats Know" smolders. Rachel Pinkstone-Marx's "Pearl's a Singer" is country twang at its finest. Michael Hogan's "Loving You" joined by the group as well as the medley of "There Goes My Baby" and "Love Potion # 9" has the crowd singing and boppin' along. Will Scantling's "I, who have Nothing" is especially touching. Jenna Bitow brings down the house with her "Fools Fall in Love".
The incredible musicians led by Eagle favorite musical director Jason Neri is nothing short of spot on great in keeping the energy flowing in this face paced, in your face, toe tappin' can't stop smilin' revue.
Smokey Joe's Café plays at the Eagle Theater, 208 Vine St. Hammonton, NJ with selected dates through Aug. 24. For ticket and information about this and their upcoming 1013-14 season call 609.704.5012 or visit: www.theeagletheatre.com.
Photo Credits: Chris Miller